Colombo equities nudged higher on Friday to end the five-day losing streak on the back of selective buying of blue-chips. The ASI closed 8.44 points or 0.12% higher at 6,832.35. The index gains were led by Nestle Lanka (LKR 2,200.00,+5.8%), Commercial Leasing (LKR 4.20,+7.7%), DFCC (LKR 160.20,+1.0%) and Seylan Bank (LKR 98.00,+3.2%).

However, S&P SL 20 index declined slightly by 5.26 points or 0.2% to 3,607.31 as the dip in prices in John Keells Holdings (LKR 175.90,-1.3%), Distilleries (LKR 250.00,-2.3%), Dialog Axiata (LKR 10.50,+0.9%) and Cargills Ceylon (LKR 181.00,-2.2%) weighed down the index performance.

Positive investor sentiments were seen during the session and the gainers outnumbered losers, 89 to 77 while 54 counters remained unchanged. 42 counters touched 52 week low prices and the cashmap declined from 50% to 44%.

Sustained foreign activity drove the turnover to LKR 1.5bn. CT Holdings emerged as the top contributor to the day’s turnover with LKR 513mn led by a crossing of 3.7mn shares which changed hands among foreign investors at a price of LKR 140.00. Further, relatively high activity in Commercial Bank positioned the share as the second highest contributor to the turnover with LKR 505mn.

Several crossings were seen in Access Engineering (6mn shares at LKR 21.50-21.90) and John Keells Holdings (0.2mn shares at LKR 177.20) and these counters made notable contributions of LKR 143mn and LKR 67mn to the days’ turnover. The crossings accounted for 44% of the market activity.

Shares of John Keells Holdings, Access Engineering, Commercial Bank and Textured Jersey were traded activity during the session.

Foreign activity continued to remain high at 76% supported by the block deal in CT Holdings. Foreign investors were net sellers of LKR 294mn worth of shares. Access Engineering (LKR 116mn), Commercial Bank (LKR 79mn) and Sampath Bank (LKR 54mn) reported net outflows while top net inflows were mainly seen in Haycarb (LKR 3mn).

During the week, main index shed 37.21 index points or 0.5% while S&P SL 20 index declined by 31.25 index points (-0.9%). CIC +11%), Sathosa Motor (+11%) and Peoples’ Merchant Finance (+11%) were among the top gainers of the week while Lankem Ceylon (-13%), Citrus Kalpitiya (-10%) and Citrus Waskaduwa (-9%) were among the top losers.

The average weekly turnover advanced by >100% to LKR 2.3bn led by the negotiated deal in Asiri Hospital Holdings. Asiri Holdings topped the weekly turnover list with LKR 7.6bn followed by Commercial Bank (LKR 769mn) and CT Holdings (LKR 513mn).

The foreign investors were net sellers during the week recording a net foreign outflow of LKR 271mn. Foreign activity was at 82%. Top net outflows reported in Commercial Bank (LKR 274mn), Access Engineering (LKR226mn) and Sampath Bank (LKR 77mn) while top net inflows were mainly seen in Peoples Leasing (LKR 195mn), John Keells Holdings (LKR 85mn) and DFCC Bank (LKR 44mn). Subsequent to this week’s net foreign outflow, year-to-date net foreign outflow increased to LKR 3.8bn.

(Lanka Securities Research)